ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is a Barrel Aged Condiment?

Updated on June 25, 2015

Barrels- Not Just for Wine Anymore

Try some barrel-aged condiments this season!
Try some barrel-aged condiments this season! | Source

Better with age

If you like to cook, you know that there are some things that just get better and better with age. Fine wines and other kinds of spirits just don't cut it fresh-- the flavor that only time can provide is what makes the difference between a quick drink and a luxurious experience.

Cheeses that are properly aged also have a depth to their flavor that fresh from the cow can't compare. Aged meats are among the better, more expensive cuts.

Make way now for condiments-- something we all grab off the supermarket shelf every month but rarely think about. Considering how much we use our condiments for dressing up the flavor of our foods, we should probably start thinking even more about it.

Lately, the new buzz in culinary circles is choosing quality, barrel-aged condiments.

Barrel Aging Condiments

Think about it-- how much money do you spend on the good steak? You do your best to prepare it, grill it or broil it, make the perfect side dishes-- only to slather it up at the last minute with a supermarket bargain-brand steak or barbecue sauce that is essentially glorified ketchup loaded with sugar and MSG to give it flavor.

Barrel-aged condiments, as the name gives away, are aged in barrels to bring out the flavor in the ingredients. It's nothing new actually; in fact, there are foodies well ahead of their time. For nearly 150 years, since Edmund McIlhenny invented Tabasco sauce, savvy chefs have been aging various ingredients in barrels. Even better if the barrel once held a type of whiskey that was aged in it. In most cases this just adds yet another dimension to the finished product's flavor.

Between the charred oak wood barrel, the moisture and flavor of the whiskey, the tannins, the vinegar, salt and the natural ingredients in your condiments, magic happens. The aging process produces layers of flavor that are just not possible straight out of the manufacturer's vats. The barrel absorbs moisture and flavors, then the condiment leaches them back out again, and given enough time this process makes for quite a superior product-- a product worth of being slathered all over your foods that you work so hard to cook. This is a sure-fire way to impress your guests and indulge your food passions at home.

Real barrel-aged condiments are costly, but they are well worth it because the taste can't be beat. The good news is that they're so packed with flavors that you use them sparingly, so one container should last you a good, long time.

Lots of different types of condiments are barrel aged now, and Smithsonian.com warns you to get used to hearing about it-- it's likely to be the big food fad of the year, particularly when grilling season fires up.


What do you say?

Have you ever used barrel-aged condiments (besides Tobasco sauce)

See results
Chili peppers are made for aging.
Chili peppers are made for aging. | Source

Sauces

Hot sauce was the first barrel aged condiment; as mentioned above, Tobasco sauce was the result of an experiment by a man who noticed how much better bell peppers got if you let them age, going from green to red to yellow. He barreled some of these peppers for three years to bring us hot sauce-- now you'd be hard-pressed to find a kitchen without hot sauce in it.

Lots of chefs and food enthusiasts are following in this line of thought, picking up the gauntlet and experimenting with this great idea that seemed to go overlooked for a while. Chefs are experimenting with barrels that they purchase from makers of spirits-- whiskey and tequila to name a couple.

Hot sauces are no longer the only sauces making their way into barrels. Fish sauce, barbecue sauce, soy sauce and a host of other sauces that have been sitting in barrels are hitting the scene.

Try a barrel-aged sauce for your barbecue, for broiling or baking, add a bit to your chili, marinade your chicken or fish in it or just put it out on the table at your next dinner party.

Other Condiments Aged in Barrels

Savory sauces aren't the only things that are being barrel aged now. Savory-sweet syrups-- perfect when you're having 'breakfast for dinner' -- are getting the treatment. A bit of smokey flavor balances out the sweetness of this syrup for a truly divine dining experience.

One thing you might be surprised to hear about his sugar! Another great savory-sweet flavor, sugar aged in Burbon barrels takes up a hint of that aged liquor flavor to make it richer, darker flavor. A hint of vanilla adds to the flavor as well. You can imagine how great these are in your black coffee, tea, or even used for baking cookies and cakes around the holidays.

It's amazing that with all technology can do these days, people are returning to old-fashioned, time-honored methods and still finding them the best.

What have you tried? Tell us!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • shai77 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chen 

      4 years ago

      Rap, thank you! "Yum" is a great word for it. There are some things that technology can't improve on much, barrel aging is one of those things, I guess you just have to let time do its thing. Maybe that's the next big thing in the market ahead for youth and beauty -- barrel beds to sleep in, lol. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate your stopping by.

    • rap profile image

      Ruth Perkins 

      4 years ago from New England

      Thanks for the introduction to yet another old fashioned way of creating "yum". Can't wait to try it. Hope I get better with age like these flavors sound like they do...only without the barrel:)

    • shai77 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chen 

      5 years ago

      Angela Blair, thank you so much for your comments. Steak sauce usually has the acid/spice mixture that really benefits from the old-fashione aging process, just like wine or salad vinegars. Let me know how your taste testing goes!

    • WokandRoll profile image

      WokandRoll 

      5 years ago

      Very cool. Aging really does amazing things to both foods and condiments, it seems. I didn't realize Tabasco was barrel-aged, but I love the way it tastes. Thanks for the informative hub!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      5 years ago from Central Texas

      This is a new one on me -- but will definitely try some out -- particularly anything in the steak sauce category. Excellent Hub and thanks for the head's up! Best/Sis

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)